Some expressions, absurd at first glance, at a second glance open the deepest layers of the history of mankind. Sometimes the most ancient symbols lose their original meaning and become common household items.
When the room is very smoky or just stuffy, they say: "even hang an ax." At the same time, the imagination turns on a picture when an ax gets stuck in dense clouds of smoke.
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There is even an opinion that the air purity was tested with an ax in old Russian huts, which were heated "in black". With this method of heating, smoke enters the room directly, creating a strong gas pollution. The density of the smoke was measured by the speed at which the ax fell. But it is natural that this interpretation is erroneous and looks more like a joke, since it is impossible to measure the speed of falling in without high-precision equipment.
There is an option that the expression uses the hyperbolization method. But in this case, the question arises: why an ax, and not a grapple, saw or any other household item. And why hang and not put? For any hyperbole, there must be some basis.
It looks more realistic to use an ax as a traditional working tool. In a big fog, when nothing was visible, as a statement of the impossibility of continuing the work could sound a call to "hang up" the ax. The working ax was carried behind the back on a special device on the belt. That is, it is so foggy that at least quit your job, hang the ax behind your back and go home. But traditionally, the expression is applied to an artificial stench produced by combustion, rather than a pure natural phenomenon such as fog.
But with such an approach to solving the issue, the causal relationship between the smoke and the ax hung on it is finally broken. The ax was not hung on the smoke, but because of the smoke.
What is the connection between ax and smoke
The ax for all peoples is the most ancient tool of labor, and in some cases a weapon. It was believed that the ax is associated with the pagan god Perun, and, naturally, with thunder and lightning. It had a symbolic meaning and was used as a talisman against evil spirits and evil spirits.
The ax was placed on the threshold with its tip outward in the house of a pregnant woman, so that the evil spirits, having stumbled on the blade, would leave without harming either the mother or the child. The ax was also used in funeral rituals.
An excess of smoke in a poultry hut, according to Slavs' beliefs, could attract evil spirits, evil spirits could penetrate the room under cover of darkness. But the ax hung on the door frightened away evil spirits.
The danger from evil spirits no longer threatens humanity, but a room full of tobacco smoke still poses a danger to its health. But the ax will not help here.